Monday, April 22, 2013

Things That Go Boom

Last week we had an unexpected and horrific example of things that go boom.  The bombings during the Boston Marathon were a brutal reminder that the world we live in isn't the world we want to live in.  Now the two known suspects are either dead or in custody.  As a nation we are left with a lot of questions and very few answers.  Honestly, I doubt we will ever have enough answers to satisfy us. 

I had a counselor who once told me my biggest problem was trying to make sense out of things that just don't make sense.  I spent so much energy trying to understand things that I was never going to understand that I drove myself crazy.  When others act in ways that stretch past our fundamental knowledge of human nature, compassion and decency, we have a hard time fitting their actions into our brain's framework.  This tragedy may fall into that category.

I'm sure we will have a lot of information that comes out in the next few days and weeks.  This information will attempt to explain motive, means and opprotunity.  Somehow I doubt any of that information will really cause us to understand why they did it.  While we can hear the words and know their meanings, we will not comprehend how it all equals justification for harming others.

We are now faced with a challenge.  We have a choice to make.  We can focus on what was done, or what we need to do now.  We can swarm the media with names, faces and intimate details of the bomber's activities, or we can focus on the healing and growing we need to do as a nation.  These moments of intense national pain are also moments of intense national unity.  We can use that unity to make our society stronger and better able to address the concerns of our residents before they resort to violence.

I wish I could say this type of behavior was rare, but it seems to be on the news a lot lately.  We are seeing people with knives, guns and bombs do terrible things to make a point.  For some reason our culture hears violence louder than love.  We react to aggression instead of kindness.  We focus on pain and tragedy before generosity and tenderness.

I believe it is time for us to turn off the nightly "bad news" and look for the good we can find in our communities.  We need to form bonds with our neighbors, learn to serve others in our towns, and contribute our skills to local schools.  We need to use these wake-up calls so offensively offered to us as a motivation to pay more attention to our children, our families, and our communities.

Instead of seeing these bombs as an end point, let us use them as a starting point.  Let us use them to make our world better.  Wouldn't it be great if the bombs that gave us "Boston Strong" were the same bombs that gave us "America Strong?"

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